The social enterprise is also on the verge of distributing their products globally following their participation in the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) Industrial Symbiosis (IS) Programme. Nozipho Zulu, Founder and Creative Director for ZuluGal Retro, is elated that participation in the NCPC-SA’s KwaZulu Natal Industrial Symbiosis Programme (KISP) resulted in a worthwhile synergy with Afripack. “I didn’t know that there are industries and companies already existing that are willing to give waste materials,” Zulu reveals. She recalls that before attending the KISP workshop held in November 2017, “We struggled to source waste material to create our bangs and accessories; as a result we slowed down production. We therefore couldn’t take our products outside of Durban or sell it to retailers.”
Subsequently, ZuluGal Retro has started discussions with retailers because they are now able to reliably produce their products in bulk. Most promising are discussions with Tourvest Destinations, a recognised global leader of destination retail at airports, who has indicated that before the end of March 2018 they will submit a test order for distributing ZuluGal Retro products across their airport retail outlets. Zulu is confident that with the waste material received from Afripack, they will be able to meet the demand from Tourvest Destinations.
Successful finalisation of discussions with retailers will positively impacts the 18 differently abled crafters trained by Zulu to produce ZuluGal Retro bags and accessories. To counter socio-economic challenges faced by people who are differently abled and marginalised, Zulu predominately employs elderly women and people with special needs such as Down syndrome and aggressive epilepsy. Zulu asserts that differently abled people can thrive if they are empowered and have the right skills to produce.
Zulu looks to the Tourvest Destinations and other similar discussions as a beacon not just for ZuluGal Retro alone, “It means I can train more people and improve other people’s lives,” she says.
Through KISP, the NCPC-SA aims to find sustainable solutions for waste materials and divert waste from landfills, while at the same time creating real financial benefits for companies participating in the programme. “What we aim to achieve is that nothing must go to landfills,” says Pearl Thusi, NCPC-SA Project Leader of the NCPC-SA industrial symbiosis programme in KZN.
Industrial symbiosis in numbers
· The NCPC-SA through KISP matched 33 companies represented at the November 2017 workshop.
· There are currently 264 KZN companies that have joined the KISP industrial symbiosis database, not counting the 33 that participated at the recent workshop.
· Ten synergies under KISP have been realised with quantifiable data amounting to 246 tonnes of waste diverted from landfills and 631 tonnes of GHG reduction (CO2e).